Friday, May 29, 2009

Ken Ham: Biblical scholar, or ideological windbag?

So a friend of mine gives me this book, entitled "Did Adam Have a Bellybutton?", written by a guy named Ken Ham. The book provides many "Tough Questions" about the Holy Bible, and Mr. Ham gives his answers.

Who is Ken Ham? He's an Australian, born in Queensland, but moved to America in 1987. He holds two college degrees from universities in in Environmental Biology, and one in Education. Okay, I understand how a complete moron can get a degree in education. Trust me on this...I went to a public school, dated a couple of teachers, and sat next to four education majors in my Math Reasoning class. Yes, even morons can get a degree in education. I've seen it happen. After reading his book, the degree in Environmental Biology leads me to believe that the Queensland Institute of Technology hands out degrees like American parents giving Ritalin to 3rd graders.

Moving right along, let's look at his business dealings. Typically, you DON'T get sued by religious organizations, when you both advocate the same religious beliefs. UNLESS you're getting sued for misappropriation of funds. Yet, this happened in 2007, under allegations that he and his "executives" were blowing the money James Bakker-style.

You might recognize the name "Ken Ham" if you follow popular culture, as he has been parodied and ridiculed by damned near every late-night variety TV host and comedian on the planet after launching his "Creation Museum". I'm assuming Mr. Ham chose the state of Kentucky because they're so desperate for his tax dollars that they're willing to become the laughing stock of the known universe. Either that, or everyone in Arkansas was too busy boinking their close relatives to bother going to see a museum featuring a sculpture of a child riding a dinosaur.

But enough about Mr. Ham's personal life. Let's talk about why I think he's a jackass!

First and foremost, he studied biology, and then panders to the ignorant for monetary benefit by writing a book that fits the dictionary definition of "intellectual dishonesty". He claims that it is "science", but has theories that are backed up with biblical reference instead of science, and uses the weakest of "straw-man" arguments to validate them.

I haven't finished my college degree, and am a liberal arts major...but I have had a few science classes in my day. This is a man who has an actual bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology...and I could still own his monkey ass in a scientific debate. After a sixer of Keystone tallboys. This silly Australian bastard has skills, but they aren't in the scientific arena. More like something you'd see at your local circus...but skills, none the less.

To top it all off, he declares that Psalms 139 and Psalms 59 clearly state that God feels that "life begins at conception". It does no such thing, and to make such a claim is nothing more than an outright lie.

I'll bet dollars to donuts that Mr. Ham is a contributor to the Texas Board of Education leader Don McElroy, who just got bounced in Texas for holding such retarded and unscientific beliefs. Any takers? Anyone?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

When is homicide "justifiable"?

I live by the "Non-Aggression Principle" (henceforth known as the "NAP"), and as such, I don't believe in "preemptive wars" against other nations, laws that limit freedoms based upon what someone *might* do, et cetera.

The NAP is not a principle of "non-violence". Before I go further, I would like to add that I am not a violent person. You don't see me training to be a "cage fighter". I don't get into barfights just for giggles. I actually really hate physical violence, because it is destructive to the soul. That does not mean I will not employ an act of violence, if someone acts aggressively violent toward me.

The NAP is not a principle of "appropriate response". It is a principle of not acting aggressively. There is no such thing, in my mind, as a "proportional response"...because a violent act toward another person is either aggressive or retaliatory. It's flipping a coin, not rolling dice. It either is, or it isn't.

Moving right along, we must analyze our society's penal code. This discussion was brought up because of a story involving a man from Oklahoma City that shot a robber during a robbery attempt. The single shot to the robber's head left the robber incapacitated...and yet, the victim of this attempted robbery chose to go back to retrieve a second gun, and chose to continue shooting the incapacitated robber in the abdomen five times.

The pharmacist that shot the robber during this attempted robbery is now charged with murder...not for shooting the robber in the head, but for going back and shooting him five more times in the gut.

****The following is a legal examination, the moral view will follow this.****

Even under Texas law, which has some of the most liberal "use of force" laws in the Union, this may or may not be considered "illegal". I can legally peel your wig back, for something as trivial as you trying to steal my car stereo. The justification of shooting someone immediately following a failed robbery attempt breaks down to something very simple...and, at the same time, extremely difficult to define.

"At what point does the robber cease to be in the course of a robbery?" This is the question that must be asked.

In this particular case, there is no possible way that the prosecution can ever prove that a crime has been committed, for one specific reason. They cannot prove that the robber WAS NOT a danger to the pharmacist, beyond a reasonable doubt...simply because aside from the surveillance video of the robber going down, there is no further footage of the robber but crime scene photos taken after the five rounds to the abdomen.

The prosecutor, in his press conference, likes to mention the fact that he was "motionless, with his palms up". Yeah. Most people end up like that when they're shot in the head, and five times in the abdomen. It doesn't mean he was like that after the guy shot him in the head.

Like it or not, there really are several known occurrences of people taking a bullet directly to the forehead, and not even slowing down...let alone, actually FALLING DOWN. Even with .45ACP, which generally equals "one-shot stop".

The pharmacist's coworkers left the immediate area, with good reason, as soon as they were able they are not reliable witnesses, as they were not there between the head shot and the abdominal shots.

So, at that point, all you have are the medical examiner's "expert opinions" on what he may think the robber's body was capable of prior to the abdominal wounds, and the pharmacist's testimony of what he BELIEVED the robber was capable of prior to the abdominal wounds.

If someone threatens me with a gun, or is an accomplice to someone threatening me, I am going to do my best to kill that person. If he's still twitching after the first shot, I'm gonna go back for more. The fact that the robber in question was unarmed is completely and totally irrelevant to the situation at hand. If the cops can "fear for their lives" because an unarmed person doesn't act in the manner they think they ought to, and are justified in shooting that person based solely upon this fact alone, why can the victim of an armed robbery not respond in the same manner?

On top of this, there's also that little tidbit of legal history known as "jury nullification". It predates the United States legal system, is still valid in our legal system, and boils down to essentially this: If a juror feels that a particular law (or even a particular portion of a law) is unjust, even if the law is technically "constitutional", that juror has every legal right to cast a "Not Guilty" vote...even if the defendant has actually violated said law, and the defendant's violation has actually been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

There's a good solid chance that the defendant will find a juror who believes like he does, in the fact that an initiation of force is justification for the ending of the offender's life.


And now the moment we've all been waiting for...the moral portion of this discussion!

Okay, so the above discussion was about the technical legal aspects of the situation. This portion, obviously, ISN'T. This is about nothing other than my personal feelings on the situation.

The robber shot during this attempted robbery was UNARMED. Yet, he was a CONSPIRATOR of this attempted robbery. What, exactly, is a "conspirator"? Literally translated, it means "to breathe together". In the legal and practical sense, it means "to be one of the same spirit, mind, or goal". In this instance, the "spirit, mind, and goal" was to rob a pharmacy for all the drugs and cash that the pharmacy had to offer and could be placed inside a small bag...which was, in fact, a metric shitload of cash and pills.

The unarmed robber shot during the armed attempted robbery was not the man holding the weapon, but he was definitely an accomplice and an active participant...which makes him every bit as guilty as the man holding the gun.

A robbery, by definition, is the forceful and unjustified theft of property. A robbery is an assault on a person, even if it does not result in an actual injury to a person, because it relies upon the threat of injury to a person.

In other words, say a man points a gun at your head, while telling you to give him your money. You give him your money, and he runs away. You don't give him your money, and he puts a bullet through your skull. Either way, you have been assaulted. Either your property or your health/life has been taken from you, in a manner that cannot be justified. You'd be hard-pressed to find ANYONE, even the most astute of legal scholars, who would disagree with this.

So my question is, if using deadly force to PREVENT it is justified, why is using deadly force to ensure that it doesn't happen again not justified?

Granted, I am not talking about the state. I'm talking about the victim, and the victim's immediate family. I'm not talking about theft or burglary (even though the state of Texas says deadly force is allowed in such cases), but actual cases of assault upon a person.

If you're misunderstanding this, allow me to clarify. In the case of CONFRONTING a burglar, it is reasonable for a person to believe that his life MAY be in danger, just the same as if he were chasing after the burglar once the burglar has left his home...and shooting him would be justified. Seeing the burglar on the street a week later, or walking into the courtroom, would not present such a the theft of property by means other than force is not an "assault on the person", in such a sense. There was no assault, or threat of assault, in order to commit the crime. The person committing the crime is a criminal nonetheless, but has not committed an assault.

In the case of a robbery, on the other hand, the crime of assault has clearly taken place. He has taken property in full view of the property owner, and did so under the THREAT of assault, and the threat of assault is just as much of an assault as an ACTUAL assault.

This goes back to the NAP that I was discussing earlier. The Non-Aggression Principle dictates that I am not allowed to act aggressively toward another human being. I am not allowed to harm another human being without justification, nor am I allowed to threaten to harm another human being without justification.

If an assault occurs, it does not occur in degrees. It either exists, or it does not. Just the same, my retaliation does not require aforethought with regard to degree of assault. If you assault me, I have every natural right to retaliate using whatever force I deem necessary and/or appropriate.

Keep in mind, I'm not talking about the "legal definition" of assault, because it's been used for piddly stuff like people spitting in the general direction of a cop's boot. I'm talking about the actual, attempted, and/or threatened assault upon a person's safety and/or life.

If you do, attempt, or threaten to endanger my safety or life, you have committed an act of aggression upon me. There is no grey area here. Either you have, or you haven't. If you do so, I have every natural right to respond with retaliation, up to and including the taking of your life.

Now, here's some theoretical "example questions" I pose to you, if you tend not to agree with what I've said.

Situation 1) A twelve year old boy refuses to back down from a bully twice his size. That boy has been physically assaulted, while attending public school, for four days straight, with no response from teachers or administration. The boy is told to "keep us informed" ("us" being school administrators), et cetera.

Situation 2) A woman has an "on again/off again" relationship with a man she is legally divorced from. Man and woman get into an argument. Man attempts to kill woman with his truck, by driving his truck through the house and attempting to drive the truck through the woman.

Situation 3) A woman is brutally beaten and raped in her own home, by a home invader. After the brutal physical and sexual assault, the home invader attempts to rob said woman. Said woman shoots the home invader in the stomach, and he flees the home after being relatively incapacitated with a gut wound, while the woman is severely injured and requires hospitalization.

Now, here's the questions.

In situation 1, would it be unjustified for the boy to rely upon himself (and what is considered to be a "prohibited weapon"), if he had no reasonable expectation of protection from assault by a classmate, when in the confines of a public school?

In situation 2, would it be unjustified if the woman retaliated against such an assault, by attempting to kill or injure the assailant after the fact?

In situation 3, would it be unjustified for the woman to shoot her assailant (with the intent to kill), as he limped away from the crime scene, while physically unable to present a reasonable danger to anyone?

In all three questions, the hypothetical reactions taken by the victims are ILLEGAL according to our legal system. Are they justified? That is what I am asking you.

Once again, you have the same scenario occur in all three occasions, regardless of circumstances. Assault has occurred, with personal remedies being outlawed for "the greater good". Our legal limits are defined to the best abilities of the English language, but once again we have the "flip a coin" v. the "roll the dice". You have "is or isn't" v. "varying degrees".

What's your stance on it?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Indefensible actions...

So I'm reading in the paper yesterday about Jim "Mattress Mac" McIngvale's Gallery Furniture warehouse being severely damaged in a fire yesterday, and it truly is a sad thing. Mr. McIngvale started with nothing, and became a Houston icon. From the time I was a little kid, I can remember seeing his self-produced television commercials with Mattress Mac himself in front of the camera, dollar bills in hand and ready to "Save...You...Money!". He is, and has always been, a major philanthropist. He donates all kinds of money to various charities around the city of Houston, and contributes greatly to our local economy.

Worse than the fire, however, was an incident involving Houston's Mayor Bill White. You see, about 5 years ago, Mayor White created the "Safe Clear" great cost to Houston's taxpayers. There are quite a few instances of people being helped out on the freeways when they ran out of gas, flat tires, et cetera. The majority of people towed by this program, however, have been financially raped by chickenhawk towtruck drivers trying to make a buck.

I had my first experience with Safe Clear a few years ago, when I was riding a motorcycle down I-10 on my way to school. A minivan switched lanes without signalling, driving 40mph less than the flow of traffic, and caused me to lose control of the bike when I had to slam the brakes. As I'm standing on the freeway bleeding, Safe Clear shows up, and I almost had to physically fight the driver away from the motorcycle to keep from having it towed. Yes, I was injured, but I was still perfectly capable of limping down the exit ramp with the bike, so I could wait at a gas station while my dad came with the trailer.

If you need immediate (and minor) assistance on the highway, such as a gallon of fuel or help changing a tire, Safe Clear hooks you up for free. If your car can't move, and they can't offer immediate assistance, you're getting towed to the nearest mechanic shop. If you can't afford the mechanic, you're getting towed to a storage yard...and YOU WILL pay, or YOU WILL lose your car.

If you are illegally parked and blocking a highway's entrence or exit ramp, you're getting towed...and you're gonna pay through the nose. Unless, of course, you're the mayor. You see, if you're the mayor and you need to get to a photo op, it really doesn't matter where you've parked. You can have your daughter drive you to the scene so you can be photographed thanking firefighters at the scene, have her park in the emergency lane of the Tidwell feeder on I-45, and call it "official business". Of course, the Safe Clear chickenhawks are still going to tow your car for being illegally parked...but if you're the mayor, all it takes is a phone call to have your car returned to you. Free of charge.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The true test of manhood...

For those of you who know me personally, you know what happened to my cousin fairly recently, with regards to the "altercation" between her, her ex-husband, her home, and his truck. Suffice to say, she's physically in a bad way and will be for a long time, and he's looking at possibly spending the remainder of his natural life in prison for putting her in that position. Thankfully, she's gonna make it out okay, even if she won't be running marathons any time soon.

So, herein lies the conundrum. Get us pissed, and we'll make MS13 look like a JV cheerleading squad. This guy literally tried to kill a member of our family, and most certainly got us pissed beyond belief. There's not a doubt in my mind, that upon finding the exact location of this assclown that put my cousin in the hospital, he'd be in pieces within a matter of minutes. Off the top of my head, ballpeen hammers come to mind. But is it "right"?

While killing this overgrown child to prevent his actions would have most certainly been justified, doing so after the fact just isn't. True "justice" would require putting him between a rock and a three-ton hard spot...and then hitting the accelerator, just like he intentionally did to my cousin, breaking damned near every bone in her body and causing internal organ damage. It's that whole "get what you give" thing. I'm quite certain he'd much rather prefer that, than to be locked in a room alone for fifteen minutes with that poor girl's father and a pair of channel locks, because S.A.R. would most definitely get medieval on his ass.

But again, is it right? JC said to turn the other cheek. We have a hard time doing that in this family. If holding grudges ever became an Olympic sport, my family could even beat the German team. Suffice to say, we have a hard time forgetting shit like this. We just don't tend to do this well.

This disgrace the human race is facing a 99 year prison term for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Given his prior criminal history, and testimony from neighbors who heard his words immediately after the fact, this stain will be lucky if he's ever able to see a sunrise that isn't coming through a chain-link fence after his conviction.


So my words to Donald Wayne Busby are, quite simply, this:

When you spend your remaining days on this Earth locked in a cage, constantly watching your back and hoping you don't get shanked over a slice of cake in the cafeteria, be praying to God for forgiveness, and hope that six large life-term gangbangers don't decide to rent your virgin ass from the Aryan Brotherhood for a pack of Ramen Noodles and a prepaid phone card. We'll be praying that your child is somehow able to live a normal and happy life, knowing that her father tried to kill her mother with an F250. We'll be praying that the mother of your child is some day able to walk without pain. We'll also be praying that her father, my father, and every other man in this family is going to be patient enough to let our criminal justice system work as intended so that justice may be served. To harm a defenseless person, as you did to my cousin, is not an act of a man, but rather the act of a child. A man knows he can do it, really wants to do it, and doesn't do it. I hope this family has enough grit to see you walk into that court room, and allow you to walk out to that county van one piece, so that your actions on that night won't wreck the lives of any more of my loved ones. Your actions are testing us all, and I certainly hope we pass.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Because she asked...

Come visit the tree of knowledge, she said
Won't you try my forbidden fruit?
I can show you things you otherwise would not know
I can elevate you, she said
Won't you come and walk with me?
We gotta run before the forest is overgrown

But once you go there with me, she said, you can never go back
Life can take you places or it can throw you off your track
And then she tells me, be careful not to stay too long
Or you may lose perception of what is right, and what is wrong
But once you go there with me, she said, then you will understand
How it feels to know this, How it feels to be a man
And then she tells me, be careful what I do
Or you may lose perception of who I am. Who the hell are you?

Won't you run through my garden, she said
Won't you come with me?
I can take you places you otherwise would not see
I can lift you higher, she said
Won't you come fly with me?
If we don't hurry, we won't see the forest through the trees

But once you go there, she said, you'll never be the same
Life can teach you responsibility, or teach you how to blame
And then she tells me, be careful not to stay too long
Or I may lose perception of what is right, and what is wrong
But once you go there with me, she said, you will realize
Life can drag you down, or make you feel alive
And then she tells me, be careful, for once you start
You may lose perception of what I am and what you are

Won't you come and take my hand, she said
Won't you come and follow my lead?
I'll coat your soul in a spirit you've never been shown
We can climb the tree together, she said
Won't you come and taste my fruit?
You have a choice, either follow me or stand alone

But once we are together, she said, things will never be the same
They may look upon us with pride, or turn their heads in shame
And then she tells me, we can’t stay here too long
Or we might lose perception of what is right, and what is wrong
But once we are together, she said, there will be no turning back
We must follow suit, or choose a separate path
And then she tells me, maybe this was wrong
We seem to have lost perception of who we were all along.

Friday, May 15, 2009

They claim it's not about money. Yeah. Sure.

Once again, I'm gonna break it down for you in the simplest manner pay attention! IF A TEENAGER DOESN'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL, HE'S NOT GOING TO GO TO SCHOOL. End of story. You can tell us all about how you're trying to "save a child's future", but give me a break.

I spent a grand total of 13.5 years (not including summer school) in the Angleton Independent School District, and I had plenty of teachers. Most of them couldn't give that rat's proverbial fat ass about their students' future. Don't get me wrong, I had plenty of them that did care...but most didn't. Sure, they put on a good show about how they were "doing their part, FOR THE CHILDREN", but at the end of the day, they were there for the paycheck.

Regardless of whether the teachers care about their students or not, one thing I noticed about teachers while in school was common amongst both of these groups...if you weren't there to do what you were told, your teacher didn't want you taking up space in his/her classroom.

The teachers who were concerned about their students didn't want you there because you were taking up valuable time that could be better spent on children interested in learning. The ones who didn't care about their students didn't want you there, because when you started flunking, it made them look bad and caused them more paperwork.

Neither set really wanted to deal with you.

Now, let's look at the parental angle here. If you are a kid in this day and age, there's a very strong chance that you're going to be living in a "single-parent" home. Even if you have a father and mother at home (regardless of whether they are your biological or "step-parents"), there's also a great chance that both of them will have a JOB. Yes, that thing that most people go to when they need to do things like eat, pay a mortgage, et cetera. This is also the thing that keeps a parent from knowing exactly what his/her child is doing during every waking hour of every day.

We have a state law that's been in effect for a decade or so now, that says a child residing in the state of Texas must attend a public school for 90% of the school year, if that child is not currently enrolled in either a private learning institution or a "home-schooling" program.

If the child does not attend school for the required amount of time, without a "valid" excuse, that child is guilty of a CRIME. This crime is punishable by monetary fines, juvenile probation, court-ordered drug testing of both the child AND the parent, and even lockdown in a juvenile detention facility.

So your kid misses a bunch of school, it's YOU that gets dragged into court over the matter. It's YOU that risks losing your job. It's YOU that has to pay a fine, pay for court-ordered counseling, court-ordered drug testing, et cetera. It's YOU that has to provide a sample of your blood, saliva, or urine for court-ordered drug testing.

If YOU fail to comply with these court orders, so ordered because your child wanted to skip school and play nintendo, it's YOU who risks harsher monetary fines and/or incarceration for contempt of court...because YOU were busy working, instead of watching your teenage offspring 24/7.

And they claim it's not about money. Yeah. Right. Every time a child is locked in a juvenile detention center, that center gets a certain amount of money from the state. More importantly, however, the school district gets approximately $22 PER DAY, PER STUDENT, for every teenage ass taking up space in the school district's chairs. Court-ordered "counselors" get paid, and most of their income is derived from court-ordered counseling sessions. County officials taking drug-test samples are getting paid to perform court-ordered drug tests. And the list goes on.

Not about the money, huh? Yeah, right. Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The height of absurdity, Florida-style...

Okay, by now, we should have all heard the story. Those of us who read the newspaper daily heard about the crazy NASA lady that drove across the country to confront her lover's new girlfriend. Those who watch television religiously saw Letterman and Leno cracking jokes about how she was allegedly wearing Depends while driving so she wouldn't have to make a pit-stop. She reserved the right to plead insanity in an earlier court date.

It should be painfully obvious to EVERYONE who's heard ANYTHING about this case, that this broad is nuckin' futs. No question about it. She needs to be in a padded cell, and dosed heavily with a Thorazine/Lithium cocktail. That's all there is to that aspect of the situation.

Now, let's move on to the criminal charges. While the Orlando Police Department attempted to be pricks about the situation (mainly, to circumvent a court-ordered release after she posted bail), and charge Nowak with Attempted First Degree Murder, this charge has been dropped.

On March 2, 2007, Lisa Nowak had formal charges filed against her by the District Attorney. Two of these charges were serious felonies, while the third was a simple First Degree Misdemeanor.

1) Attempted kidnapping with intent to inflict bodily harm or terrorize is a First Degree felony, and carries a maximum sentence of LIFE IMPRISONMENT.

2) Burglary of a conveyance with a weapon is a First Degree felony, and carries a maximum sentence of LIFE IMPRISONMENT.

3) Battery, on the other hand, is merely a misdemeanor punishable by only one year in jail.

Let's look at what is necessary to be legally found guilty of these charges, shall we?

On charge 1, the State of Florida must prove that an attempt was made to forcibly remove Colleen Shipman from her car. There is no physical evidence to corroberate this claim, and the state will be forced to rely upon eyewitness testimony from Colleen Shipman alone. Any defense attorney worth his salt will IMMEDIATELY destroy Colleen Shipman's credibility on the stand, because of her inherent conflict of interest in the case. She was, after all, the new girlfriend of Lisa Nowak's ex-boyfriend. There's really no point in even attempting to pursue such charges, because it's going to be fruitless.

On charge 2, the State of Florida must prove that Lisa Nowak actually ENTERED Colleen Shipman's car. She didn't. The projectile from her pepper-spray canister did, but Nowak herself DID NOT enter Colleen Shipman's car. It just never happened. Shipman had her door locked, and rolled the window down just barely enough to allow Nowak to pepper-spray her through the opening. Again, it's pointless to pursue this charge.

On charge 3, it's an open-and-shut slam-dunk case. There's no doubt that all evidence available supports the charge of Lisa Nowak battering Colleen Shipman via pepper spray, through the opening of her slightly-cracked window.

The State of Florida is going on yet another taxpayer-funded excursion to throw someone in jail for the rest of her life, is going to spend a metric shitload of money doing it, and will be lucky to get a maximum jail term and/or fine for a misdemeanor...which is one year in the county lockup, and/or $1,000 fine.


So now, let's look at how the state screwed up...

First and foremost, let's look at the police. They willfully and knowingly violated Lisa Nowak's "Miranda rights"...and, as ruled by a judge, any statement recorded during that time is lawfully inellligble for use at her trial. A woman who could have lawfully (and, by all indications, rightfully) been locked away for the rest of her life, is now most probably going to be let go with a year of probation and a hefty fine.

Now, knowing that the local pork has seriously shot the state in their collective foot, the DA is STILL attempting a first-degree attempted kidnapping charge on nothing more than circumstantial evidence and eyewitness testimony by a witness that will be utterly destroyed on the stand. Adding stupidity to self-inflicted injury, they're attempting to prosecute a charge they have no possible way of proving...BECAUSE THE CRIME NEVER HAPPENED.

The best the prosecution can possibly hope for in this case, because they are shooting for the moon with a rubber-band gun, is that they get a sympathetic jury that will convict on Charge 3 and sentence to the maximum.

If they get a jury that tries to go balls-out on all three charges, knowing that they are bullshit, all three are likely to get tossed on appeal.

If they get a jury that is upset by the state's use its power for the purposes of asserting its authority, and wishes to punish the state, this crazy broad is gonna walk.


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what happens when you try to go above and beyond your end up fucking up. Pure and simple.

The police screwed up, broke a law that's well-known enough that third-graders can recite it, and this resulted in compromised evidence that could have possibly sent an insane criminal to prison for the remainder of her life.

The prosecution, knowing that the police screwed up their case, still insisted on charging the defendant with A) a crime they couldn't prove, and B) a crime that never happened.

In doing so, they are risking either letting a criminal walk free, or having themselves (and the state's justice system) embarassed in the appeals process.

Good job, Florida.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is there a place for the Holy Bible in America's public school system?

You bet there is! Before you go thinking it's that simple, however, please allow me to elaborate. Is there a place for the Bible in our schools? Yes...but not as "required reading", as a supplement to a science class, or as a basis for the teaching of history. There are, however, two places where the Christian Bible has a definite place in our public school system.

The Bible is one of the greatest literary works of all time, holds the all-time world record for copies published, was the first book ever printed using "movable typeset", and is responsible for influencing more people than any other book in the history of mankind. It should most certainly be studied in our high-school literature classes, if only on this basis alone.

Second, an elective course on the study of the "holy books" of the three major monotheistic religions (the Christian Bible, the Jewish Talmud, and the Muslim Koran) would most certainly do wonders for our understanding of other cultures, if these books were compared and contrasted in a manner that a student of these books may understand what is really written in them, then perhaps the people of this world may grow a little more tolerant of others. Lest we forget, Christ himself was the most tolerant man ever to have lived.

Moving right along, let's get back to the places in our public school system where the Holy Bible SHOULD NOT be taught:

Why? Because the bible is not a scientific text, unless you are counting the science of Theology. Theology is not a science taught in our public schools. Perhaps the most debated part of the "science and the bible" argument is the debate of "Creation v. Evolution"...or, as modern Christian science (not to be confused with the "Church of Christ, Scientist", because I don't know enough about that particular denomination to form an opinion) would call it, "Intelligent Design v. Evolution".

Regardless of what anyone may try to tell you, "Intelligent Design" is nothing more than a trumped-up jumble of pseudoscience and five-dollar words intended to get the message across that "Darwinian theory is a fraud". Anyone with even a minute understanding of human biology can easily see that "Intelligent Design" is, blatantly and bluntly, pure and simple BULLSHIT. Pardon my French, but I can't seem to think of a better way to describe it. The entire basis of "Intelligent Design Theory" is the notion of "irreducible complexity"...and I can't help but wonder if these people have ever heard of such a thing as a virus, or even understand what DNA is.

Furthermore, the "Young Earth" theory (stating that the Earth is less than 7k years old) is based upon, at least what I've read so far, nothing more than fanatical conjecture and outright ignorance of basic 7th Grade science. On several occasions (the most notable is the repeatedly-photoshopped hackjobs of a faint image found at Natural Bridges National Monument), complete and utter lies are exhibited as "evidence". For real, if you want to use an altered photograph to convince people of your version of the "truth", do so in a manner that doesn't make you look like a high school sophomore who just discovered photoshop.

***From three separate "Creation Science" sources***



Now, let's look at an UNRETOUCHED photo of the actual "dinosaur and man":

How hard is it to "fake" a photograph? Well, this is most certainly my face...but is this my body? You be the judge:

I'm a shecksy bastard, huh? You like my washboard abs? They're every bit as real as the "man hunting the dinosaur"...

Unlike science, the bible actually DOES contain a historic account. Unfortunately, the majority of biblical history is nowhere near being anywhere close to "accurate" as far as timelines are concerned in the Old Testament. Even the very EXISTENCE of a man named Jesus Christ is still being debated amongst actual archaeologists and historians with actual degrees in history, anthropology, and archaeology, from actual accredited universities, from all over the world. As far as actual evidence ASIDE FROM the Christian bible goes, it's actually easier to discredit the mere existence of a man named Jesus Christ than it is to discredit the supposed innocence of O.J. Simpson. Seriously.

Don't get it twisted, I'm speaking of evidence found OUTSIDE the bible here...but there is actually far more evidence supporting the theory that Jesus DID NOT exist, than there is supporting the theory that He did exist. Also, keep in mind, I'm not speaking of evidence that Jesus is the Son of God. I'm merely speaking of his existence, as a "regular Joe", or anything else.

I believe in Jesus. In my opinion, there's no doubt that he was here. He was born of a virgin, lead a sinless life, was executed, and then rose again. That DOESN'T mean that there is a definitive record of his life, outside of the Christian Bible. In fact, outside of the bible, there is more evidence that he WAS NOT an "actual person", as opposed to evidence that he was an actual person.


This is why I oppose the usage of the Holy Bible in our public schools, for the purposes of instruction in science and history. Doing so results in the "dumbing down" of our students.

In the subjects of science and history, it is imperative that we MUST examine facts if we are to learn science and history.

To understand science, you cannot begin with presupposed notion and build evidence around it, while ignoring evidence that does not support it. Man is not God, and vice versa. We've already had that amalgamation. His name was Jesus. Unless you're claiming to be the second coming, please stick to the scientific method if you plan on discussing science. The Holy Bible, as "scientific evidence", simply does not count as evidence.

The same holds true with history. When biblical history does not consistently coincide with known written history, it CANNOT be used as "historical fact" in such a context.

I say this NOT because I don't have faith in the Holy Bible, because I do have faith in the Good Book. I say this merely because my God gave me a brain, and I choose to use it to the best ability He has provided me with.

In high school, I studied three different languages. Naturally, a greater knowledge of my mother tongue was attained, because English was taught all through high school (as well as the rest of my public-school career). Also, while in high school, I studied a bit of Spanish, as well as three years of Latin instruction under a man who was the greatest teacher I've ever had (BTW, I can say without a doubt that you should NOT attempt to learn two non-native languages at the same time, it will mess with your head!), and I came to understand that there are some things that simply WILL NOT translate properly and accurately across different languages.

The Holy Bible was written in ancient languages (AFTER being passed down through oral history through untold generations prior to its historians having a written language of their own), and then further translated across Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and later into English. Even today, there are several different English translations of the Holy Bible that DO NOT always line up with each other. A good demonstration of this would be the translation of the 6th Commandment (5th Commandment, if you're a Roman Catholic).

If a person begins on a foundation of factual "sand", you're going to have a structure liable to crumble. If you cannot be absolutely certain of something, you cannot be certain that anything built on the origin of uncertainty will stand the test of time.

Look at it from the machinist's point of view...if you don't have a true surface on the top, you can't flip it over and mill a true surface on the other side, and make it truly parallel to its opposite side.

If you want your children to learn from the Universal Truth of the Holy Bible, there really is a class you can take them to. In the majority of cases, you don't even have to pay for your child to attend. These classes meet every Sunday...hence the name "Sunday School".

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Faith is not something that you can touch, taste, see, or feel. Faith is something you must believe. You can't produce timelines, pie charts, or bar graphs to prove what your faith makes you believe. If it was able to be proven, it wouldn't be called "faith". It would be called FACT.

As such, "faith" should never be taught as "fact", in any setting other than a class that provides religious instruction.

Then again, these are just my opinions...

Monday, May 11, 2009

In my continued praise of the .22LR firearm...

Yes...while all the other "gun nuts" in the world are debating the AK v. the AR, the 9mm v. the .45ACP, the handgun v. shotgun v. short-barreled rifle for QCB, et cetera, I am forever the "black sheep". I'm that random weirdo that says you should be able to use whatever works best...FOR YOU. You can take all the trajectory calculations, ballistic gelatin cross-sections, rate-of-fire comparisons, et cetera, and throw 'em all out the window...because they all mean dick squat, if you can't hit what you're aiming at.

Now, let's look at the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. For those who aren't "gun nuts" like myself and the rest of my friends and family, the "Long Rifle" designation DOES NOT imply the use in an actual long-barreled rifle. In the .22 rimfire category, you have four distinctively-sized cartridges. You have the .22 Short, the .22 Long, the .22 Long Rifle (typically referred to as the ".22LR"), and the .22 Magnum.

Amongst these, the .22LR is the most commonly-used and most commonly-chambered cartridge. The .22 Long is currently only available via "specialty manufacturers", as its commercial viability simply no longer exists. The .22 Magnum is still manufactured for those who choose it for its projectile velocity, as it travels quite a bit faster than the typical .22LR round. The .22 Short is also currently manufactured, and is quite useful in general training and short-range target-shooting scenarios. For those of you who know me personally, I'm sure you've seen the photos the "laundry room possum". I used an available short-round for that shot, because it does not produce the sound level typical of the .22LR. My father tells me he used to target-practice with .22 Short in his living room, because he could safely use an old telephone directory as a backstop!

Most single-shot and "repeating" (meaning non-single-shot) firearms that do not use a semi-automatic action are capable of chambering the .22 Short, .22 Long, and the .22 Long Rifle. Most do not accept the .22 Magnum, because this is a relatively "modern" (it being only 50 years old, as opposed to more than 100, like the other .22 rimfire cartridges), and is more of the "specialty" type. The revolver I shot the possum with, as well as the bolt-action rifle I was shooting yesterday afternoon, will both accept the three lower-velocity rounds.

Most semi-automatic firearms do not accept the .22 Short or .22 Long rounds, when specifically chambered for the .22LR round, as they do not produce enough recoil force to adequately operate the action.

There is a very high probability that, if you happen to own a .22 rimfire rifle or handgun of the semi-automatic variety, it is going to be chambered for .22LR. Every single semi-automatic rimfire firearm that I've ever laid my hands on has been chambered for .22LR...and I can guarantee you that's quite a few different species of weaponry.

Because of this reason (the "common usage" aspect of it), .22LR is DIRT CHEAP, even in times like now, when ammo is short. Even today, it's not uncommon to purchase a thousand rounds for under $20US. I guarantee you that you'll get tired of the heat, the reloading, or the walking out to inspect your targets, before you'll finish off a 500-rd brick of .22LR ammo. In all probability, you'll spend more on a package of decent targets, than you will on a 500-rd brick of ammunition.

Now that I've got all of that squared away, let's look at why you should own a .22LR firearm. Actually, you should own three of them.

First and foremost, they are excellent "trainer" guns, for anyone looking to get started in shooting, or to hone their mechanical shooting skills...because, as I stated before, they are DIRT CHEAP to shoot. 20USD will buy you 1,000 rounds of *HIGH QUALITY* .22LR, whereas 20USD might buy you 20 rounds of whatever random standard-grade ammo for your center-fire pistol or rifle.

They are also a great way to promote "family bonding". If your family is anything like mine, your family is highly competitive, but not necessarily "athletically able". You don't need to run a 4-minute mile or do 200 pushups in two minutes, in order to shoot well...but you do need to be able to focus on the fundamentals, and put them to use.


The last, but certainly not the least, important reason for owning a .22LR firearm? When you're confronted with the inevitable "When the Shit Hits the Fan" scenario, do you want to concern yourself with trajectory, force, and velocity, or do you want to be able to get the job done?

We can talk about "stopping power" all night long, but typically (and erroneously), this will end up in the arena of damage caused to the human body.

"Stopping power", contrary to popular belief, is not limited to immediately putting an "enemy" on the ground. True "stopping power" is, effectively, doing whatever necessary to take the enemy "out of the game"...regardless of whether it kills him, makes him physically unable to remain a threat, or merely makes him turn around and run while thinking about how he's just screwed up. Regardless of what has happened, if you produce either of these three results, you have achieved "stopping power"...because you have effectively neutralized your enemy.

Many people feel like the .22LR simply is lacking in the "ass" department, meaning that it is simply not strong enough to get the job done...and that is one subject that I would definitely find arguable. While a slug from my 12ga can literally crack an engine block, and will most certainly penetrate a Kevlar vest, it is utterly useless against a man if I can't hit him with it.

On the other hand, there's not a predator in the world (two-legged or four-legged) aside from possibly a rhinoceros, that won't either drop dead, stop in its tracks, or run away as fast as possible if hit in the face with a .22LR slug.

The "when the shit hits the fan" scenario can include damned near anything...including a wild animal attack, a carjacker, a home-invader, or even agents of a tyrannical government.

I've been shooting .22LR firearms for the past two decades. Almost as long ago, my uncle gave me my first firearm that was "mine", and was a .22LR "break-down" rifle. At the age of 16, my father bought me my first pistol which was a .22LR Smith & Wesson. Between these two firearms (and due, in a large part, to the economic viability of shooting them), I've literally fired thousands of rounds through them.

Unfortunately, my S&W pistol was stolen from my father's home a few years ago...but I still have the rifle my uncle gave me. I took this rifle, along with an antique bolt-action rifle and an antique Hi-Standard semi-auto pistol, to the range with me yesterday. I brought a box with more than 500 rounds in it, and the contents of that box can fit in my pockets.

While my cousin, his friend, and his mom were shooting the "high-powered" pistols they brought, they had difficulty hitting the targets on the 25m range. The Hi-Standard pistol that I was firing for the first time on that day was able to hit the target repeatedly without difficulty. How wide is your head? I was shooting a target 8" in diameter, at 25 yards.

With my breakdown rifle, at that same distance, I was able to put a full magazine into a space the size of a cigarette pack...and that grouping got smaller when I took out the longer-barreled bolt-action rifle.

At 100m, I was still able to put most of that magazine into that same 8" target, with that same breakdown rifle. With the bolt-action rifle, at the distance of 100m, I can put one between your eyes without using a scope.

An SKS, an AR15, a Glock 21, and most certainly a 12ga shotgun pack more "firepower" than the .22LR firearm...but if I can put SEVERAL rounds of .22LR in your face (or your neck, your nuts, your knees, your ankles, et cetera), at rapid fire, who's gonna win that firefight? How many rounds' worth of practice have you had?

Did I mention that until yesterday, I hadn't shot the breakdown rifle in ten years...and that pistol and bolt-action rifle EVER?

When the shit hits the fan, do you want to be throwing a "bull's eye" to win the game in a dart or two? Or would you rather throw cinderblocks, resting on the knowledge that a direct shot wins the game, but you might throw 30 of them before you hit your target? How many rounds does your mag hold? Can you get those rounds off, before I get off a single shot?

Friday, May 8, 2009

ask, and ye may receive...

In the ongoing debate over abortion, my cousin Billiam asked me a question regarding my friend's freshly-arrived son. You see, little Brody has this interesting tendency to throw the "Black Power" fist in the photos from his first week on this earth. Personally, I think that's just gangsta as hell, but that's beside the point.

As this debate rages on, my cousin is convinced that because a fetus has been known to do so (as clearly seen in sonograms), they also are in possession of at least the minimal amount of cognitive self-awareness...essentially, the ability to recognize the basic fact of "I am". Not "I am in pain", "I am hungry", "I am bored", "I am cold", but merely, "I am".

So he asks me, after a few rather asinine and intentionally sarcastic comments raged back and forth between us, "And you're going to show me scientific proof that shows a baby in the womb doesn't ball up his fist of his own accord. Or, rather, that a baby outside the womb does? I mean. I want completely, irrefutable scientific proof that it's a FACT that baby did that through thought."

In response to this, I will say "No". Very clearly, and very simply, NO. I cannot do this. Why? Because every person on this planet is DIFFERENT. Now, pay attention here Billiam, because you might actually learn something. It happens to all of us, every day. Even today, I learned something new. You might learn something new here, if you pay attention.

I cannot provide you with "completely, irrefutable scientific proof" that my sister from another mister's kid can ball up his fist and hoist it in the air, and do so AS A RESULT OF HIS OWN VOLITION. I can't. Why? Because I A) don't have access to the machinery required to do so, and B) seriously doubt that my friend would loan her baby to a drunken jackass like myself, merely for the purposes of proving a point and providing a boost to my already over-inflated ego.

There are several facts we must look at here, however:
  1. The Human forebrain (the portion of the brain responsible for all cognitive function) does not develop to the point of even the most BASIC functionality until around the eighth month of gestation. The reason for this is not known, but is theorized that it is due to being the least MECHANICALLY necessary portion of the brain required for other words, we know it "is" but do not know "why it is".
  2. Prior to this, all muscular movement (and there is quite a bit of it, as modern science allows us to see via the sonograms Billiam mentioned) is the result of muscular spasm, nervous system interaction with the muscular systems, et cetera, while the portion of the brain responsible for muscular movement is in its development stages.
  3. With regard to the debate over abortion (the debate that originally spurred this question), 99% of all abortions (in America, by licensed medical personnel) are performed prior to the 20th week of gestation. That doesn't even bring us into the third trimester, let alone the middle of the third trimester, where basic cognitive self-awareness is beginning to form.
Without being able to perform a brain scan, at the precise moment of muscular activity, there is no way of knowing that a particular baby (or fetus, depending on whether birth has occurred or not) is consciously thinking about the movements he is making. Because the human forebrain (as well as the rest of the brain) is still in the basic developmental stages AFTER a normal 9-month gestation period and standard human birth, there is a very distinct possibility that Baby Brody's fist-pumping denouncation of oppression may be the mere result of a non-cognitive muscular action. A newborn baby, after a normal 9-month pregnancy, is able to make basic muscular movements of his own volition (as his still-developing tiny little body will allow, while his still-developing tiny little brain is discovering how to make such basic muscular movements).

So no, I can't say without a doubt that little Brody's fist-pumping exercises are the result of a cognitive desire to throw a fist in the air and demand equality for all men. I can't even say that his raised fist is the result of a cognitive desire to simply raise his own fist, because I do not have access to the tools necessary to prove such a thing. What I can say, however, is THAT'S MY LITTLE HOMIE, RIGHT THERE, PUMPIN' HIS FIST IN THE AIR!

Brody Mcrae Chesson

Oh yeah, btw...such a thing CAN BE PROVEN. You and I just don't have access to the tools (or the baby and/or fetae) necessary to do so.

So, Billiam, let's recap what I've talked about today...
  1. I can't prove that the sonograms of balled fists WERE, OR WERE NOT, the result of cognitive capabilities...because A) I have no idea how far along in the gestational period those fetae were, B) I lack the necessary equipment to determine such things, and C) readings on the brains of said fetae were not taken AT THE TIME.
  2. Likewise, I cannot prove for certain that Baby Brody's throwin' up the fist was the result of cognitive capabilities coupled with intentional muscular motion, for the same reasons (except for reason "A", because I am aware of the exact age of the baby in question).
For all I know, the sonograms you have seen were taken a week prior to a natural birth, or were sonograms taken of "freaks of nature" that had functional forebrains prior to the eleventh week of gestation, and their balled fists may have very well been the result of a cognitive desire to ball up a fist. Conversely, they may also have been random synaptic firings of muscular and nervous systems that are typically found within a fetus during the middle of a normal pregnancy. I honestly don't know...because not only did you not provide any information other than the basic "I've seen a sonogram of a fetus with a balled fist", I wasn't there at the time of the event AND I don't have the necessary equipement or expertise to operate it.

Now, just for the record, you can't provide "completely, and irrefutable proof" that JFK was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald. For that matter, you can't even provide such proof showing that he was even killed by an actual bullet! All you have are words on paper, and the Zapruder(sp?) film of his head exploding. I'm quite certain that his head DID explode because a bullet entered (and then exited) with the proper amount of force, as are most people...but we don't have access to the bullet, the body, or any tangible proof that a bullet flew through his head.

And Billiam, in case you're wondering, I was led to discover this knowledge through PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. In the very early part of 2003, Allison's monthly visit from "Aunt Flo" came a few weeks late. An appointment was made with the doctor, and in the meantime, the subject of abortion was brought up. Before any final decision was made on my part, I wanted to know anything and everything about the subject that I I LEARNED. I read scientific journals, I read my Gideon's, and damned near everything else I could get my hands on. I'm not sure if you've ever been in a similar situation, but I can assure you that it is a truly mind-blowing experience that I never want to experience again. Thankfully, "Aunt Flo" arrived just a day before Allison's appointment with the doctor, and such a choice was never made between us. Children are precious, and I would like to have at least one child of my own, at some point...but that doesn't change the facts of the matter, regarding basic human development.

If there's any scientific data you'd like to share with me, either supporting or refuting these facts, I would love to read it. Until then, my opinion stands as order for a human being to be considered a "person", and therefore subject to the standards of "murder", that human being must be in possession of at least the basic and bare minimum of cognitive self-awareness.

For the time being, I'll just continue to marvel at the beauty of my friends' newborn children...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On the eighth day, God created light beer...

So I got into this discussion with my cousin the other night (sorry it took so long to get to this, Travis), in which we started talking about God and science. As I've previously mentioned, I believe the human mind is the greatest creation God has ever been responsible for...and it would be a sin to let it go to waste.

Before I go further, I would like to say that without a doubt, I am a firm believer in the One True God of Abraham. I am of the Christian persuasion, and believe a sinless man named Jesus was borne of a virgin, walked this earth, and eventually died for my sins before rising again a few days later. Hopefully, that should clear up any misconceptions that anyone may have.

Now, moving right along. I'd also like to say that I am also a firm believer in Darwinian Theory, at least the minuscule portions of it that I understand. Why? It's quite simple. I place far more belief in what I see, rather than what I read...especially if the text is several thousand years old and has been translated across several different languages, after being passed down through generations by people who had no written language.

Let's look, for a moment, at Darwinian theory. Yes, it is a THEORY. No one knows exactly what happened several million years ago (or, as Travis believes, a few thousand years ago). The best we can do is SPECULATE and base our theories upon the evidence we can actually nature presently, in nature from the past (via fossil records), and what we can observe in laboratories.

Then, we have Creationist theory. Yes, it is a THEORY, as well. No one knows what happened a few thousand years ago (or several million years ago, as I believe). Again, the best we can hope for is evidence based upon observation, both in nature and in the lab.

As I was telling my cousin the other night, I am of the opinion that science used for the purpose of proving an ideology is doomed to fail...because you will ALWAYS find evidence that supports your theory, even if you think JFK was assassinated by little green men from Mars. Science should never be utilized for ANYTHING except the search for honest knowledge, regardless of whether it supports or disputes your ideology. If your findings don't support your preconceived notions, is there a chance that your preconceived notions might possibly be wrong?

Think about it this's obvious, to both me AND my cousin, that our Almighty created the universe. Now, taking that into account, wouldn't you agree that he's a pretty intelligent dude? In my opinion, he's the most "Intelligent Designer" ever. Ever. EVER. EVER! Sorry, I just can't seem to emphasize that one enough.

If he's intelligent enough to create something as complex as the human mind, would he not be intelligent enough to create something so SIMPLE (in my opinion, anyway) as the mechanism of biological evolution?

Obviously, there are massive "holes" in evolutionary theory, that cannot be readily explained away. There are also quite a few massive holes in creationist theory that can't be explained scientifically...and sorry, but NO, quoting the Holy Bible doesn't count. Not even if you use the King James Version. That's just not science.

I have faith in God, but I will never truly understand him until the day I meet him and get to have a chat with the guy...and you won't either. There's a reason why they call it "faith" in God. You believe it. You can't touch it, you can't taste it, you can't see it, but you know it's there.


Now, for a response to something I saw on I must admit, I had to rummage through some stuff, because it's been a while since I've had a biology class. On that website, there were three questions posed to believers in Darwinian (aka "Evolutionary") they are, and here are my answers.

1) Where did the information in DNA come from originally?
It came from the earth, just like everything else God so intelligently designed. DNA is nothing more than a very complex polymer, made of elements found naturally in the earth. If natural events can cause something as spectacular as a volcanic eruption or a tsunami to occur, is it really that far-fetched to believe that millions of years of nature (or even thousands, if you so believe) cannot produce the necessary environment for the creation of life? If a small group of humans can produce an actual artificial organism less than 150 years (138, to be exact) after actually discovering DNA, I'm quite certain that nature can create the necessary environment somewhere.

How can mutations that are only capable of rearranging or losing information, cause brand new information to appear?
This question is, quite simply, a loaded question that contains a logical fallacy. If information is "rearranged", it is NEW INFORMATION. For a practical demonstration, let's look at something known as an "anagram". An "anagram" is nothing more than a word, whose letters are rearranged, to produce an entirely different word. There are only 26 letters in the modern English alphabet...and, literally, thousands of anagrams are known. DNA consists of 4 distinct molecules, which are cytosine, adenine, guanine, and thymine. They are bonded with "hydrogen bonds"...and, due to basic chemistry, adenine will bind with thymine and cytosine will bind with guanine. It doesn't change. What DOES change is the pattern of binding. If you REARRANGE the pattern of binding, you have CREATED NEW INFORMATION. For instance, take the word "bastard". Merely using those six letters, and THE EXACT NUMBER OF LETTERS IN THAT WORD, you can come up with no less than 38 other words or combination of words.

The manner in which DNA differs from an "anagram", even though it uses the base pairings of A+T and G+T, is the fact that these combinations are not limited to the number of pairs that may be used...and they don't have to conform to a preexisting written language! The largest DNA strand responsible for a single human gene consists of 220 MILLION base pairings...and it doesn't have to make a readable word or anything! All it has to do is convey information.

3) Why is there no evidence of 2, 4, 8 celled animals etc., ever having lived?

Umm, that's a good question, but let's think about this for a minute. Without digressing into a history lesson about Darwin's finches, let's look at WHY evolution takes place (according, of course, to Darwinian theory). Biological evolution is, with regard to the "short answer", the survival of the fittest. If a species is capable of surviving while being single-celled (such as the "Sea Grapes" are), they would have no reason to evolve into multi-celluar organisms...but would instead, evolve into the largest and strongest single-celled organisms, because this is what works.

Cockroaches are still in existence, in much the same state they were millions of years ago (if you follow modern science), because THERE WAS NO NECESSITY OF CHANGE FOR THE SPECIES TO SURVIVE. Cockroaches breed at a rate that would make a rabbit blush, can survive nuclear fallout, and will even survive being "nuked" in a microwave oven. Even though they can't survive the heel of my Bates steelcaps, you can rest assured that their brothers and sisters will. There's no need for the species to evolve, because there is nothing to prevent the survival of the species.

According to the website these questions came from, "There is abundant evidence for one-celled animals in both the living world and the fossil record, but there is not one shred of evidence of any animal above the one-celled level until it reaches many thousands of cells in multi-cellular creatures."

Let's look at that statement, and look at this. There are certain species of amoeba (the world's "single-celled animals") that have a MAXIMUM size of 3microns. The largest fossilized organism known to man is 5microns wide. If this is true, then it is possible for a species to be smaller than what is detectible by fossil record AWKI ("as we know it", from here on out).

Now, let's look at the fact that we have actual laboratory evidence of 2-, 4-, 6-, and 8-celled organisms of the fungus category...both laboratory-engineered, and naturally-observed. It's obvious that life DOES happen in a 4-cell scenario.

Looking back that the animal kingdom questioned, let's examine the question of multi-celled and single-celled organisms. The human body is made of literally BILLIONS of cells, working simultaneously. The largest-known single-celled animal is the "Sea Grape", recently discovered on the ocean floor in the Bahamas. It's clearly visible to the naked eye, and has been photographed near a shrimp for comparison. It's at least 1/4" wide. A red blood cell, by comparison, is roughly 7microns wide.

This goes back to original Darwinian theory (long before we ever discovered Sea Grapes or blood cells), but if an organism was able to sustain the species in an "as-is" format, it did so...and the members of that species most likely to survive were also the most likely to procreate. If you are an animal with no known natural predators, and you can survive with nothing more than a single cell, you are unlikely to have a need for cell division into specialized cells.

Lest we forget, even the Human body is made up of nothing more than a gazillion cells that work in conjunction with each other. In the scientific sense, the human body isn't really that spectacular. Cells make up organs, organs make up systems, and systems make up the complete's all "building blocks". If you can have a single organism that is capable of survival without having to branch off into specialization, why fix it if it ain't broke?

Furthermore, we have undeniable evidence that both multi-cellular AND single-cellular animals exist and may consist of cells smaller than the smallest known fossilized cell. Taking this into account, along with the fact that multi-celled organisms whose cellular count has not reached double-digits are CURRENTLY in existence, is it not that far from the realm of possibility that an eight-celled animal might have existed (and, for that matter, may STILL exist) and we just don't know it?

I'll be the first to admit that I've read Origin of Species and still don't understand much of it...but to deny the possibility of evolution based upon a book that has been translated across several different languages (after being passed down from generation to generation in a society that had no written language) just doesn't seem very scientific to me.

God created mankind, as well as every other creature and plant on this planet. Is it really that much of a stretch to think that he is able to create something as simple as biological evolution? In the grand scheme of things, evolution is much simpler than creating man out of dirt. I'm quite certain that my Almighty God is more than capable...

Then again, that's just the way I see it, I could be wrong.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

"Traditional Marriage"? Seriously, what the eff?

Okay, you're a fan of "traditional marriage". Congratulations. You're a happily married heterosexual person.

I have no problem with that, as a marriage between consenting adults should be legal. You're happily married to the member of the opposite sex that you chose.

So what about the fraction of our society who happens to be homosexual, and the fraction of these people who choose to enter into a monogamous and legally-recognized relationship with the consenting adult of his or her choice?

Marriage, in the state of Texas, is not a "religious" institution in the eyes of the law. I know from personal experience. Instead of being married to the woman I was madly in love with, in the church I was baptized in, we got married in the courthouse across the street from said church.

The church did not decide when we could or could not file our taxes together. It didn't decide that my wife was allowed to use my name. It didn't decide that my wife was allowed to join my health care plan. It didn't decide that my wife was considered my "next of kin", and I hers, in the event of a tragic accident.

The deciding factor, in these events, was not the Church's blessing, but rather a piece of paper signed by an agent of the state...which was granted to us, after paying a tax to the state for the privilege of being married.

The legal denial of the right to be married to the consenting adult of your choice is a direct violation of the First Amendment, because it is based upon absolutely NOTHING BUT religious doctrine.

The three major monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) tend to frown heavily upon homosexuality within most sects. Fortunately, we don't live in a nation ruled by religion, but a nation that declares liberty to be the fundamental basis of our rule of law (see "First Amendment" if you have questions about this!).

Some of this nation's citizens would like to see Christianity be the basis of our laws, and to them, I'm curious...what version of Christianity would that be? Would it be the Christianity of my Southern Baptist grandmother, the Christianity of her Catholic son, or the Christianity of the members of the "Cowboy Church" down the street from my house? Personally, I don't think our laws should be dictated by someone who tells me I'm going to hell for drinking beer and listening to Rock & Roll music...or a man in a funny hat...or a group of people who feel the need to worship in a cow pasture, behind a sign bearing the catch-phrase of their favorite redneck comedian (with the apostrophe in the wrong place). All three of these groups agree that homosexuality is wrong, but can't agree on how to say the blessing before sunday dinner.

Most importantly, they can't agree with the two other major sects of people who worship the same God of Abraham but call Him by a different name, when it comes to whose God is the "One True God"...even though it's THE SAME GOD.

Fortunately, our forefathers saw the folly of allowing such things to dictate what is and is not legal, due to the simple fact that a religious majority would certainly infringe upon the religious freedoms of others who do not worship in the same manner...or, for that matter, worship at all.

If this nation's laws were based solely upon "Christian" ideals, there's a good chance that my Wiccan friends (a happily- and legally-married HETEROSEXUAL couple) might be burned at the stake. There's a strong chance that my Jewish classmates' WWII-veteran grandfather wouldn't be allowed to have a Star of David on his GI headstone. Unfortunately, my Wiccan friend can't have the symbol of his faith on his headstone when he dies...even though his religion is recognized by the United States Government as a tax-exempt religious entity. If that isn't a slap in the face, to someone who vowed to defend the very constitution being violated by this rule, I don't know what is!

Without digressing any further about the idiocy of US Army regs, I'll say this loudly and clearly:


Yes, the majority of our founding fathers were devout Christians (typically of the protestant variety). However, while liberty and Christianity are not mutually exclusive, they are not synonimous, either. This nation, being originally founded by those who were escaping religious persecution, understood better than anyone the importance of religious freedom...both the freedom to exercise their religion as they saw fit, but also the freedom to NOT exercise a particular religion as they saw fit.

Liberty is the absence of rule and regulation. There is no such thing as "pure" liberty, because there will ALWAYS be something that prevents a person from doing as he chooses. Unfortunately for some in this nation, it is ILLEGAL to use religion as a means to prevent another person from doing as he chooses.

So to those who wish to keep homosexual marriage a violation of the law, I ask you this:

What legal basis do you have, that does not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, to prevent an adult from marrying another consenting adult of his/her choosing...regardless of gender?

An addendum to last night's post...

I got to thinking about a response from my cousin on last night's post, and I can't help but be reminded of my mathematical reasoning course at UH (think sophomore high school geometry proofs that the college makes you run through again). In addition to the sorority chicks that surrounded me because they didn't feel like studying, it taught me to analyze things from every angle before coming to a conclusion and to do so in a step-by-step process.

Applying this technique, let's look at something here. A "murderer" is a person who takes the life of another living person without legal justification. A "serial murderer" is a person who takes the life of more than one person, using the same modus operandi, over an extended period of time.

If you are of the opinion that a fetus without a functioning frontal lobe (and, therefore, has no possible way to even realize its own existence on the most basic of levels) is still a "person", then receiving a therapeutic abortion is tantamount to MURDER. To do this on two or more occasions would make the impregnated woman (and her doctor, who was legally licensed to perform such a procedure) a SERIAL MURDERER.

So yes, if you are of the opinion that a fetus is a person, you are also of the opinion that my mother is a SERIAL MURDERER. It matters not how you dress it up, mince your words, or think that it might be different if it involves someone you know. There is no "grey area" here. Either it is, or it isn't. It's cut and dried. That's just the way it is. You may not use those exact words, but the meaning of words do not change depending on a particular random situation. Either it is, or it isn't.

Moving right along, let's talk about our "correctional" institutions and our law enforcement officers. If a person declares that a policeman needs to "protect himself", especially against people like me, you are insinuating one of two things...either I am out to harm police officers because I am a criminal, or police officers are needing to protect themselves against "people like me" because I might not sit idly by while my rights are violated. Which is it? In either scenario, one party is a criminal. Is this person calling me a criminal, because I feel no regret or remorse about doing what is morally and legally justified in defending my inherent rights as a member of the human race? Is this person declaring the police officers who point guns at my head for no valid reason to be criminals, because even though I have committed no crime and have no desire to harm random people, they still need to "protect themselves, especially against people like me"? It's one or the other...and, judging by the constant talk of how supposedly ignorant I am on the subject, I can't help but think this person is declaring me to be a criminal...especially when he uses the phrase "Society has a place for you. It's called JAIL." Am I wrong here? If so, please enlighten me. If I'm not mistaken, this person has declared me to be a CRIMINAL.

So if I'm a criminal, and my mother is a serial killer, am I not the criminal son of a serial killer? Words do not hurt me, but they still have meaning. That's also something to think about...


And for the "unanswered questions", I'm still wondering what my cousin was talking about. Was it the question about the mentally challenged, or the question about dogfighting?

Self-awareness, on its most basic level, is merely the ability to recognize the fact of "I am". It's not the ability to understand geometry or astrophysics. It's not the ability to say hello or tell someone where it hurts. It's merely the ability to understand the concept of "I am here, these are my surroundings as I understand it, whatever the level of understanding may be".

Those who do not possess this ability are referred to as, typically, DEAD. A conscious self-awareness is what separates the animal kingdom from a stem of broccoli. You have it, or you don't.

You can read about basic cognitive self-awareness here. Even dogs and cats have it. Hell, even the "slowest" of our society has a basic modicum of self-awareness. It has nothing to do with being able to speak, move, eat, shit, solve algebraic equations, or screw. It's merely the ability to think, even on the most basic of levels.

If "I think, therefore I am", then "I think not, therefore I am not". It's that simple, and it doesn't matter how much one thinks, it only matters if one does or does not...and that's why I didn't bother to answer these questions about special olympians or dogfights. It's because they are irrelevant to the conversation at hand...and are only used by those who either wish to divert attention from facts, or by those who do not understand them.
Edit: If understanding any of this makes me "arrogant" or "immature", then by God, call me the most arrogant little prick in the entire rosebush. Personally, I think it's just basic simplicity.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What does it mean to be "alive", and more about abortion.

From a scientific standpoint, something is "alive" if it consumes sustenance, is capable of reproduction, et cetera. According to this definition, FIRE is technically "alive". So are microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. Naturally, living breathing people are also considered to be "alive".

But what does it truly mean for a person to be "alive"? In my personal opinion, you are not truly "alive" unless you are in possession of enough cognitive ability to know that you exist. It's really not that difficult to have that much brainpower. Cats and dogs have it. Even the lowly little cockroach knows that it exists, even if its brain can't function much farther beyond this.

The reason I am bringing this up is the fact that certain questions were posed after relatives had read my last blog regarding abortion, and other philosophical questions were brought into the discussion, regarding an uncle who was left with massive brain damage after a motorcycle accident.

I am of the opinion that, no matter how bad it really sucks, being "brain-dead" is still dead. Period. If you are unable to know that you exist, and will never regain the ability to know you exist, you are not alive. You may eat through a tube, breathe through a machine (or even on your own, for that matter), et cetera...but if you cannot understand the basic concept of "I am", you simply aren't.

My father watched his oldest brother go from being one of the brightest men on this planet to being a "vegetable", after a serious head injury stemming from crashing a Harley-Davidson. At the age of 25, I purchased my first motorcycle while in college. Shortly after, I had a very long discussion with my father concerning what we would do in the event of any injury that ever left either of us without a functioning mind. Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels the way I do.

Much like my father, I have also lost a brother on the road. On my 17th birthday, my brother was traveling home from a New Year's Eve party with his fiance when she lost control of her Toyota pickup. She was ejected from the vehicle, and is still alive to this day. Brandon, on the other hand, was wearing a seatbelt. His head was crushed by the roof of the cab when the truck flipped over repeatedly, but was still technically "alive". Alive in the sense that certain vital organs were still functioning, even though the majority of his brain was shredded apart by shards of metal. He technically "died" three and a half hours later, in an emergency room, when these organs finally gave up.

In my opinion, however, my brother died on a deserted highway in East Texas.

Had it not been for the massive amount of blood loss, there is a possibility that he might still be "alive" today. There is, of course, also the possibility that his brain was so ripped apart that he would never actually know it.

Had his vital organs been able to make it through such trauma, our mother and his father would also be faced with a very challenging question... "Should we pull the plug?". It's a question no one wants to be forced to answer, because it is only asked in cases where a loved one is lost.

It still doesn't change the fact that the basic underlying question is also there. What does it mean to be "alive"? Again, I don't think one is truly "alive" unless one is capable of knowing that one is "alive".

The human body is, in my opinion, perhaps the greatest of all God's accomplishments. The human mind is the most important feature of that body, for it is the essence of the soul.

I can use my legs to run, or use them to sit myself down. With my hands, I can either destroy or create. I can open my mouth to speak or close it to remain silent. Without a functioning mind, I can do none of these things. Without arms, legs, or a tongue, I can still engage in philosophical introspection, as long as I have a functioning mind.

This opinion of mine, that states a person is not truly alive without a functioning mind, does not mean that I care any less for the person who no longer has merely means that I accept death as the natural end of life, no matter how or why the death of a loved one may occur. My grandmother fought hard against breast cancer that spread throughout her entire body, and up to her last breath had a functioning brain. My brother had a body that fought hard for more than three hours, against all odds, but had a brilliant mind that was destroyed by an automobile accident. I loved them both dearly, as my father loved his father and brother. Accepting a loved ones' status as being dead or alive holds no bearing on this love, as it will endure forever.


Now, moving right along to the original discussion of abortion. First off, let's go over some facts. These facts are from an ANTI-ABORTION website, so you can be assured that it's not "just a bunch of liberal propaganda".

1) In the average human pregnancy, the gestation period is 39 weeks...or, roughly, nine months. The gestation period is typically broken down into "trimesters" of 13 weeks. This stuff isn't actually from the website, it's just a refresher course of basic knowledge for those of us who slept through junior high science class.

2) In America, all but 1% of abortions are performed prior to the beginning of the third trimester. As a matter of fact, these 99% are performed prior to the 20th week of gestation. 95% are performed prior to the 16th week, and 89% are performed prior to the 13th week. 77% of all abortions in America are performed before the tenth week of gestation, which is the point where medical science begins to call it a "fetus".

3) Those who consider themselves to be "Christians" represent 75% of all women who have had an abortion in America.

Okay, so we've got those facts out of the way. Now, let's look at basic biology. As with any other living organism, the human body begins development of its most essential features first. The abilities of the five basic senses are considered necessary for survival (yes, you can get along without them, but having all five sure does help!).

The human body has many INVOLUNTARY reactions to the world around it, which are completely independent of the cognitive human mind (the doctor kneecapping you with the little hammer to check your reflexes is coming to mind here).

The basic building blocks of the human body are put together long before the non-essential features, and this holds true with the human fetal brain as well.

Prior to the 25th week, the fetal heart should be adjusting itself to outside stimuli (sound, temperature, pressure, et cetera). Much like your own heart rate self-adjusting without control from your mind, cognitive awareness is not necessary for this to occur.

As early as the 9th week, fetal muscular movement is possible. Until near-term, however, these are involuntary responses to stimuli. The forebrain, responsible for cognitive thought, simply has not developed until that point.

Is a fetus "alive"? Of course it is. It has its own DNA, blood type, heartbeat, and brain. It does not, however, at the point where 99% of abortions are performed in America, have a functioning mind that is capable of self-awareness.

Now for my family that felt the need to blast me for my opinions earlier (as well as any others who might think I'm promoting "baby-killing" or something similarly retarded!), I'll say this:

I AM NOT PRO-ABORTION. I am pro-choice, and choose to look at this matter from an objective view. My cousin's wife is going to have a baby in the near future, and I couldn't be more proud. Two of my dear friends just recently gave birth to their babies (in Kim's case, a pair of them!), and I couldn't be happier for their addition to humanity. At some point in my lifetime, I also hope to have a child of my own.

That still doesn't change the fact that I have the opinions I have. Of course I don't walk around asking my pregnant friends "how's your fetus doing?". I understand that having a baby is a very personal thing, as it is the creation of a life.

What I DON'T understand is how people can honestly say that you were a "person" from the moment the sperm fertilized the egg, if they understand anything at all about basic human biology. How is a cluster of cells considered a "person"? That's what an embryo is. If abortion is murder, is a miscarriage considered "involuntary manslaughter"?

At some point, we as a society need to overcome our personal beliefs and look at the law from an objective point of view.

At the time of my birth, and ESPECIALLY during the time of my father's birth, countless mothers smoked like a worn-out Chrysler while they were pregnant...and most of us came out just fine. My mother's "anesthesia" during childbirth, according to those who were there in that apartment, was a joint and two glasses of red wine.

Today, under Texas state law, you can legally be prosecuted for "endangering the welfare of a child"...for smoking a cigarette while pregnant. And yes, it's happened before, believe it or not. Sadly, this is what happens when THE MAJORITY of society becomes completely entrenched in their personal views that they feel the need to spread them to everyone else...even those who don't agree with the views of the majority.

Just for the record, there is only ONE passage in the bible that mentions the death of a fetus through causes unnatural.
"And if men struggle and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."
Exodus 21:22-25
If I didn't know any better, it would seem that even the bible doesn't define a fetus as a "person", if it declares in the same passage as the famous "eye for an eye" law that the punishment for killing a fetus should be a fine set by the father...instead of the penalty of death, which was proscribed for the crime of killing a person.

It's quite simple...if you oppose abortion, don't get one. I don't agree with the practice of abortion, therefore I do what is necessary to prevent myself from impregnating anyone. If those steps are not enough to prevent the pregnancy, I still have no right to make a choice for another person, until that fetus becomes a "person"...and, at 13 weeks of gestation, it just simply isn't.

God gave us all a brain. Let's start using them in an objective manner, m'kay?

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two new abortion-related laws passed in the state senate of Texas...

And again, they are completely useless, except to produce the type of partisan stupidity typical of most "politically active" types. They really AREN'T doing anything worthwhile.

Well, perhaps the "Choose Life" license plates we just authorized might do some good, if the license plate fees really do go toward adoption charities...unlike proceeds from the sale of lottery tickets, which were supposed to fund our public schools but mainly went to line the pockets of the private entity that sells them.

Aside from the license plates, we also had another abortion law passed in the Texas senate. It's a law that requires an ultrasound prior to an abortion. Oh, wait...that's right, it doesn't. It was originally supposed to, but because of "bipartisan compromise", it merely requires that the doctor OFFER an ultrasound before a potential mother terminates her pregnancy.

Essentially, all the time and effort wasted on this bill accomplished absolutely nothing but requiring the following conversation:

Patient: Doctor, I'm ready for my abortion.

Doctor: Would you like an ultrasound first?

Patient: No, thank you. I'd just like an abortion.

Doctor: Okay, let's get you into the stirrups.

Wow, wasn't that special? I'm so glad that we were able to get that accomplished. Now, moving right along, I'd like to discuss my views on why this state should get back to the law as written prior to being overtaken by religious fundamentalist nutjobs who have no understanding of medical science OR the Holy Bible.

The "anti-abortion" debate continues to rage on in this nation because of ignorance. To claim that a fetus is a "child" or even an "unborn baby" is not much different than saying a piece of iron ore is a brand-new Cadillac. It's just not true, no matter how you look at it.

The heart of the abortion debate, interestingly enough, doesn't even revolve around science. Rather, it revolves around the moral question of what constitutes a "person". In my personal opinion, one does not actually become a "living person" until one acquires a brain capable of the most basic COGNITIVE function. Not merely the presence of a brain or even individual brain cells, not the presence of "brain waves", but enough cognitive capabilities to understand (even on the most basic level) that the self exists.

Modern science tells us that the human brain begins its formation very early on in the course of a human pregnancy. The human heart also develops early on, as does respiratory function. Very early in the gestation period, ten tiny little fingers and ten tiny little toes will also begin to make their first appearance. The cardiopulmonary function will also make self-adjusting variations depending on environmental variables, such as sound and temperature. While the fetus depends upon its mother for nutrition and oxygen, it is an organism independent of its mother. This fact is the reason many have incorrectly labeled a fetus as a "parasite", but that's neither here nor there.

In spite of all this knowledge, there is one fact that remains at the heart of this debate...and is often dismissed as being "irrelevant", if not ignored altogether.

The human brain does not develop cognitive ability to recognize the fact that it even exists, until near the beginning of the eighth month of gestation. The overwhelming majority of LEGAL ABORTIONS PERFORMED BY LICENSED DOCTORS in this nation occur six months or more before this point.

Allow me to put this another way...if you can breathe, consume sustenance, et cetera but CANNOT THINK FOR YOURSELF ON THE BASIC LEVEL OF EVEN BEING ABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OWN EXISTENCE, you are not truly "alive".

Prior to this point, you truly are nothing but a "cluster of cells". When most abortions are performed, the fetus is roughly the same size as the average adult male thumb. The "brain" hasn't even begun to form, as the "neural tube" that will later allow the complex network of nerve cells and brain matter to form are just beginning to assemble themselves. At this point, you are every bit as "alive" as your average piece of broccoli...and just as much a "person" as your average fingernail.

When abortions are outlawed, only outlaws will have abortions. History has shown us, however, that outlawing abortions WILL NOT prevent them from happening. Even in countries run by a Catholic majority, such as many of those found on the South American continent, "back-alley abortions" are just as common-place there as abortions performed by licensed physicians are here.

People are still going to have abortions, whether you agree with it or not, much like the way drug usage continues in a nation that has criminalized drug usage to the point where we have to sign a registry to buy certain types of over-the-counter cold medicine.

The debate over abortion centers around whether it is actually "murder" to terminate the life of something that is obviously a living human being, but isn't actually a cognizant and sentient human being.

Prior to the religious fundamentalists taking control of our state legislature, a "Person" was defined by state law as a "human being that has been born and has breathed". Yeah, that sounds about right.

Did we really need to piss away a bunch of time arguing about whether the state has the authority to DEMAND that a woman be forced to view an ultrasound? Perhaps the biggest absurdity of this whole thing is the fact that, in 99.9% of all legal abortions performed in this country, an ultrasound is already order to determine that the woman is in fact pregnant, and to determine how far along in the pregnancy the woman really is.

Such a law is nothing more than political posturing and pandering to a bunch of religious nutjobs who still think research on laboratory-created embryonic stem cells is tantamount to "murdering babies".

On top of all of this, the "compromise" of the senate bill has lost its teeth because the ultrasound is not REQUIRED by law, so doctors are merely required to provide the opportunity for it.

Yeah, we scored big with this one! And people wonder why I have complaints about organized religion. For some reason, discussing the word of God in large groups seems to make people instantly retarded...